Even in its incomplete state, the deck has become a welcome addition to the property. But there’s still plenty of work to be done on it; it’s hard to relax in one of the lounge chairs when you don’t know if you’re going to pitch backwards off the platform. It’s time to tackle the railing.

Once again, SketchUp was instrumental in planning and visualizing this project. Among other things, it helped me decide how to finish the rail cap corners. Joining them at a 45 degree angle is difficult to get right and invites later warping. Instead, I had them meet at right angles, but with notches cut in the long board where the corners meet. It’s a simple, clean look and compliments the two small 45 degree corner rail sections. All of the posts are attached from outside of the deck platform. This way, none of the square footage of the platform is lost by adding the rails and none of the planking needs to be cut to accommodate the posts. It’s also easier to clean up and would disassemble relatively easy should we ever need to move the deck.

The building materials and hardware were purchased from Menards and hauled up weeks before I got around to working on the deck again. I used the same AC2 treated pine board that went into the platform. The posts are secured to the deck frame by 6″ lag bolts, locknuts, and washers that are designed to resist corrosion from treated lumber. The rail boards and rail caps just use deck screws through pre-drilled holes. I’m really happy with how things are turning out! All that’s left now are the spindles (balusters, if you prefer) and the stair railings. I plan to bring up my miter saw and drill press to prep the the spindles. There are over 70 of them that need to be cut down and pre-drilled, but once that’s done, installation should go quickly. We’re in the home stretch now.